Incidents of Police Brutality Shown to Lead Up to Slaying of Unarmed Suspect in Charleston
More and more incidents of police brutality and excessive force are being filmed by suspects and bystanders and released to the internet. The most recent such incident involved North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, who, in the first week of April, was caught on camera shooting and killing an unarmed suspect – Walter Scott – who was running away from him.
Now, as police and the media investigate what could have led Slager to so brutally kill Scott, a video from a traffic stop in Charleston last year shows Slager tazing a suspect.
Slager responded to the traffic stop to assist an officer, because the suspect would not exit his vehicle. Slager and other officers are seen on the video pulling the suspect, Julius Wilson, out of the vehicle. Then Slager, in an act of possibly excessive force, tazes Wilson. Wilson claimed that he was held on the ground by two officers while Slager tazed him, suggesting serious incidents of police brutality.
Stun guns “should be used as a weapon of need, not a tool of convenience,” say guidelines developed in 2011 by the U.S. Justice Department. In other incidents of police brutality, suspects are stunned with tazers which can then lead to serious physical side effects like heart problems, and even, in some cases, death. An unarmed suspect does not have to be shot with a handgun to be brutalized.
“From what I saw on the video and what I know about the facts, this guy wasn’t a threat to others. He wasn’t armed. He was running away. I just don’t see where that officer has much of a defense in this case,” said Pete Strom, founder of the Strom Law Firm, in an interview with WIS News regarding the police brutality against Scott.
According to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), 21 South Carolinians were killed by police officers last year. Regarding the killing of Walter Scott, Emma Anderson, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “Officers need to be spending more time de-escalating situations, instead of resorting to the use of this very convenient tool. The jury’s still out on whether or not it’s lethal force, but it’s not nothing; it’s very dangerous.”
According to additional SLED research, there were 53 officer-involved shootings since 2014, and too many of them have been part of traffic stops.
The Strom Law Firm Represents Those Hurt by Police Brutality
Situations which may give rise to a South Carolina police brutality or excessive force case include:
- You were unarmed when you were shot or beaten by police during an arrest
- You were beaten or choked by police officers while being restrained
- You were being arrested or ticketed for a minor offense, but the officer used a weapon or Taser gun on you to subdue you
- You were beaten by prison guards while awaiting a trial or waiting for your bond
- You were sexually abused by prison guards or police
If you have been hurt, or a loved one has been killed, due to police brutality, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800